On Saturday, April 16, the third annual TEDx event came to campus, where the audience heard 12 speakers, including Western students, alumni and professors, selected by Western’s TEDx Club.
TEDx is a program that “supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community,” according to the TED website. Max Smith, a representative of Western’s TEDx club, said speakers were chosen from an initial 68 applicants. That number dwindled to 30 before the final 12 were chosen.
Junior Jordan Crahan gave his talk on how the U.S. could potentially use the stock market to foster positive social change.
“If we’re willing to rethink the values of the modern economy, we can use the systems that we have, with some adjustments of course, to do a whole lot more for society than we’re doing right now,” Crahan said.
Baozhen Luo is a professor for Western’s sociology department and spoke at the event. Luo said her status as a minority at Western was what prompted her to apply to be a speaker.
“It was cool to see that, on campus, we would have informed speakers talking about relevant topics.”
Sophomore John Slugg
Luo’s talk, titled “Searching for Myself in My Names,” focused on her struggle with her identity, specifically her name and Chinese heritage, after she arrived in the U.S. to attend graduate school in Georgia.
“I feel there’s a lack of voice for minority members like me, a new immigrant and a woman, so I think this is kind of my contribution to the diversity effort,” Luo said.
Luo’s talk resonated with sophomore Kevin Molloy, who said it was his favorite talk of the day.
“[Luo] did an amazing job of portraying the big move in her life from China to the United States and how it was such an internal thing,” Molloy said.
Western alumna Susan Fee, a therapist specializing in the mental health of adolescent girls, spoke on the complexities of friendship between teenage girls. Fee said speaking at a TED event was something that was on her bucket list.
Fee wanted the audience to help teach the young girls in their lives the difference between a best friend and an acquaintance, a concept which she believes many girls have difficulty grasping.
“If we could teach the word acquaintance, we could change the mental health of teenage girls,” Fee said.
The talks, including breaks, lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The TEDx coordinators gave every guest a meal ticket redeemable at the Ridgeway Commons for lunch and provided various activities, including a room where people could play with dogs, for guests to kill time between sessions.
Sophomore John Slugg said he attended the event because he had seen TED Talks online and was excited to see Western was hosting a TED-based event.
“It was cool to see that, on campus, we would have informed speakers talking about relevant topics,” Slugg said.
Freshman Sara Meadows said she attended the event because she also enjoys watching TED Talks online. However, for next year, Meadows suggested having more of the activities closer to the Performing Arts Center so guests aren’t required to travel back and forth across campus.